Linen Clothing

The traditional baptismal garment (whether infant or adult) is a white linen garment. The symbolism of the white garment (so I was told in seminary) is that in baptism we are clothed with Christ. (“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” Gal 3:27.)

But in today’s Daily Lectionary New Testament reading we find this rather different symbolism:

To [the Bride of Christ] it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints (Rev.19:8).

I suppose back in my Presbyterian days I would have interpreted this as follows: The only righteous deeds we have is Christ himself, therefore the Seer must be saying the same thing as the Apostle said to the Galatians.

Well, that does serve to distance the saints from any righteous deeds they might do (God forbid we have saints doing righteous deeds!), but it also turns the plain meaning of Revelation on its head. And if anything was drilled into me at Bible College, it is that we should always go with the plain meaning of the text whenever possible And again, the text clearly says that the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Curious.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s